Author: Jonathan Crossfield

If it involves putting words in a row with the occasional punctuation, then Jonathan has most likely given it a bash; from copy writing to screenwriting, blogging to journalism. He has won awards for his articles on digital marketing and his over-opinionated blog, Atomik Soapbox. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @Kimota.

By jcrossfield published October 8, 2014

Are Social Media Content Agencies and Experts Taking You for a Ride?


There are many agencies, consultants, and “experts” living off the perception that social media marketing is a complex science, beyond the ken of mere mortals. Their social media content strategies are driven by as many graphs, metrics, and loosely defined abstract concepts as the client is willing to pay for.

It’s a sleight of hand that creates a lack of genuine accountability. Many clients outsource because they’re convinced they lack the knowledge to manage, let alone measure, their social media content efforts. This leaves the agency to not only drive the strategy, but also to advise on what success or failure looks like. Some even control the tools that measure their own self-serving KPIs, plugging easily achieved numbers into agency-devised equations to calculate (cough) “goals” such as “return on experience” or “brand engagement.”

Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published August 10, 2014

The Future of Social Media Content Strategy is Really Déjà Vu

hand-social media strategiesRemember all those articles a few years ago that predicted Google+ would overtake Facebook and revolutionize search? The +1 button was going to be the most important social media share button you could, you should, you MUST install on your blog.

Now there are articles predicting the slow dismantling or downgrading of Google+, potentially eroding the efforts of those who did commit to the network.

Articles that attempt to predict the future of social media make for great link bait. We’re all desperate to avoid some shiny new toy eroding our advantage or destroying all our hard work. That’s why most of these articles focus on the new technologies of the day, written in a tone that implies an impending threat if the reader doesn’t adapt quickly enough.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published June 15, 2014

How Automating Your Social Media Content Can Hurt Your Brand

social-meda-content-automationI have a rule. Actually, I have many rules, but you don’t need to hear the ones concerning black jelly beans or why tequila is no longer allowed in our house. The rule that’s relevant to this column is about Twitter, and although it may seem arbitrary, it’s about maintaining certain standards for social media content.

When I follow someone, if I receive an automated direct message a few minutes later to thank me, I unfollow immediately.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published April 15, 2014

How to Spot True Social Media Talent Amongst the ‘Experts’

graphic representation-light bulbHow many social media experts does it take to change a light bulb?

Never mind; we’ll come back to that. But first let’s look at what we mean by the term “social media expert” in the first place: 

“You’re a master of Farmville, know the best filters for sunset photos on Instagram, and Stephen Fry once replied to you on Twitter… so why not become a social media expert? All you need is a simple WordPress blog, an account in each of the major networks, and HootSuite installed on your laptop, and you too could be charging high hourly fees for generic advice gleaned from that morning’s Social Media Examiner newsletter.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published February 28, 2014

#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Content

hashtag image-blue circleIt took a while, but Facebook finally succumbed to the hashtag in June 2013. Now this humble little symbol can connect conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.

Its impact on modern culture — even on our language — is so large that the American Dialect Society declared “hashtag” as Word of the Year in 2012.

But try explaining hashtags to someone who has never used them — it isn’t as easy as you might think. So welcome, class, to #Hashtagology 101. Settle down and open your textbooks. Please stop talking in the back — after all, that’s what the hashtag is for.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published February 5, 2014

Should You Date-Stamp Your Blog Content?

green stamp for dating thingsSometimes, we might think our best content deserves a bunch of flowers, a reasonably-priced pasta, and a glass of chardonnay at the local Italian bistro. But, bad puns aside, the decision whether or not to date your blog content (*groan*) is also about making the right impression on someone you hope will still be around when the coffee arrives: the reader.

Joe Pulizzi recently triggered a conversation on Facebook on whether marketers should date-stamp their content. And it was very interesting to see a clear split in opinions emerge in the comments. Many declared that they routinely ignore undated posts. However, others argued that removing the date from blog posts dramatically increased search traffic. (Notice the “reader versus publisher” attitudes there…)

So, who’s right? Is the whole notion of evergreen content undermined by dates that gradually erode the value many readers place upon it?Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published December 18, 2013

Beware the Social Media Content Algorithm Chasers

content marketing-penguin-pandaI’ve never understood lepidopterists. They admire the beauty of moths and butterflies, chasing them across meadows with a large net. But once caught, the creature is dropped in a killing jar and pinned to a display board.

As KPIs go, a butterfly collection is pretty brutal. The very thing these butterfly chasers value is actually mutilated by the act of chasing and collecting them.

Some marketers behave in a similarly short-sighted manner. These are the algorithm chasers, so focused on netting a better ranking or more “likes” that the very reason for these things — the content strategy — is devalued. Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published August 27, 2013

How Social Media Content Tools Can Work for Your Sharing Strategy

vine on mobileForgive me for a moment while I make an incredibly broad and general statement — the sort of simplistic statement I usually complain about when made by other people. But I’m not other people, and I need a hook for this article. Don’t worry. If I can’t make it stick, you’re welcome to point out the flaws to me in the comments section below, or on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

And that sort of speaks to my point (when I get to it, that is): I’m betting no one would choose to respond and debate my hastily constructed theory on Instagram, or FourSquare, or Vine. That’s not how those networks work. In any case…

There are two types of social networks — sharing tools and content toolsContinue Reading

By jcrossfield published June 2, 2013

Stop Treating Social Media Content Like Spinning Plates

wobbling-spinning platesDrum roll please, as we welcome to the stage The Amazing Brando and his spinning social media plates!” (Cue polite ripple of applause, followed by a cheesy organ rendition of “Baby Elephant Walk.”) 

“The more plates The Amazing Brando spins, the greater the applause. Until… Oh no! Quora just crashed to the floor! And Pinterest is beginning to look wobbly! 

“The audience gasps as Brando manages to set YouTube spinning again with a hurried “unboxing” video on his smartphone. They clap as a few quick @replies save Twitter for a few more spins. And then LinkedIn crashes to the floor. No longer impressed, the audience wonders when the clowns will be back.” Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published November 2, 2012

Turning Social Media Follows into Content Marketing Leads

Social Media Content Marketing LeadsDigital marketing, particularly social media, has led to an obsession with meaningless numbers.

Followers, “likes”, and connections may give some indication of the size of your potential audience. But those numbers say nothing about whether your audience is really following your lead, liking what you have to say, or connecting with your message.Continue Reading